Why are we not surprised that the work-from-home and stay-at-home order did not sit well with those with families to tend to? While unmarried individuals thrived in this setup, those who have kids to take care of struggle to work from home. Whether it’s because of the piles of dishes in the sink or the cacophony of the kids screaming and the TV blasting Cocomelon, it has become impossible for many parents to work effectively from the comforts of their homes.
But as news of a more contagious and transmissible coronavirus variant hit the airwaves, you can’t help but make the ultimate sacrifice of all: ask your boss to let you work from home even as some of your co-workers already went back to the office. This is the safer route for the family, after all. You have to wonder, though, why isn’t the work-from-home setup working out for you? Why are others thriving while you lag? Is it because you have kids running around the house? Or, is the reason way simpler?
You Did Not Carve a Space for Work
You have to be deliberate about wanting to work efficiently at home. That means, among others, carving out a space for your home office. It doesn’t have to be a full-on separate room, but it has to be a space dedicated solely to your work. Think Harry Potter’s cupboard room over at the Dudley House. It can be that small of a space. Or, how about that small corner in the kitchen? This is a little hidden from the rest of the dining room, so you might be able to make it work.
The important thing about having a home office—no matter how small—is the light source. Make sure there is plenty of natural light that comes in. It’s bad enough that you do not have a dedicated space for a home office; the least you can do is park yourself somewhere near a window where you can raise the modern window roller blinds up to let the light in.
You Forgot About House Rules
During the pandemic, you might have forgotten to enforce a few house rules. That’s normal because everyone was just trying to cope with these extraordinary times. However, as time goes, it became pertinent to enforce house rules for everyone—the parents, kids, and others who live with you. What are these house rules? The most important is not to bother you during work hours unless it’s essential. Another critical rule is not to touch your work things no matter what. No one in the house has business tinkering with your work laptop and whatever documents they can find on your desk.
You Do Not Have a Schedule
Set a routine. This is always the key to success, even when you are not working from home. But when do you have to work from home? This goes from essential to critical. Routine becomes more than just a need, but it becomes a key to survival. What kind of routine do you need when working from home? You have to wake up at a specific time, particularly when everyone is still sleeping, and you can have that quiet alone time in the morning.
Without a schedule, you will be forced to work on others’ time. You will follow what works for them instead of what works for you. That’s why you couldn’t work from home effectively. You are a slave to others’ routines and not your own.
You Forgot About Decluttering
A cluttered home is stressful for anyone who works there. Office clutter is different because everything you see is about your work. Home clutter is stressful and distracting because you feel responsible for them. Instead of finishing that report, you feel the urge to wash the dishes, put the dirty clothes in the washing machine, and sweep and mop the floor. This kind of environment will never work for anyone who works from home. No matter how great you are at compartmentalizing, it is impossible to work when too many cluttered things are around you.
Working amid the pandemic is hard enough. Couple that with the need to work from home, and it becomes almost impossible. So, you have to create a space in your home that’s dedicated to working. For your kids, they also need a space for study and learning. These micro spaces at home will make these challenging times easier to manage, and you will also find yourself thriving amid the stress of the pandemic.